St. Patrick's Day has me thinking about my own Irish roots and a memorable meeting I had with family while visiting Ireland four years ago. Here's a little slice I wrote the evening of that family meeting:
Standing in a cemetery an hour outside of Dublin it's hard to know what to think. I'm looking at the grave of my grandmother's great, great grandmother and it's just a tad overwhelming. Here are people I obviously don't know, but if it weren't for the lives they lived here in County Kildare, Ireland I wouldn't be here at all.
The question is...how connected am I?
First of all, I have to say I was impressed at the care that had been given to the grave. The headstone begins by celebrating the memory of one Elizabeth Kearney born in 1864 and ends with the death one Henry John Garrett in 1998. To see those 134 years connected on one headstone is pretty impressive, but really even more intriguing was that in my thirty minute visit to this small, off-the-beaten track, cemetery I ran into 3 other people-locals-who were there on a sunny Saturday morning to pay respects to their own.
I wandered about looking for the names of other family members I'd been given. In my wanderings I was taken with a younger man who was standing at a gravesite with a pile of freshly turned soil. He stared at the head stone for a bit and then made a quick sign of the cross before turning on his heels and heading back along the small country road to his next destination.
It was then I headed back to Elizabeth's grave for my own moment of prayer and reflection. I thanked her for living the life she led which in turn allowed me the privilege of standing before her today~ and then with a sign of the cross I walked off to enjoy a bit more of the scenery in this home away from home.
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